October 28, 2014

Arvgarden B&B

Arvgarden B&B, 6 x 12" Oil on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
I just completed this little oil painting today.  It's of a lovely B&B we stayed in this summer when we were vacationing with Arny's sister and brother in law (Elaine and Larry).  It's in Wellsboro, PA.  We were in the area to visit what we in Pennsylvania like to call the Grand Canyon of PA.

I love the story of how the place got its name: Arvgarden.  The couple who started it  told their children they were moving from Philadelphia to the rural place were the mother had grown up to build a Swedish style home on a farm that they'd use as a B&B.  The response they got was, "OK, but you're spending our inheritance", so the couple decided to name their place Arvgarden -- which means "inheritance farm" in Swedish.  It is so cool that they made a private joke out of the name.

   I hope you enjoy this piece as much as we enjoyed staying there.  As usual, I'm going to put the piece in my Daily Paintworks Gallery, so if you're interested in it, check out the auction there.

On the Motivation and Joys of Painting with Friends

In my Studio, October 28, 2014
My husband, Arny, got a new iPhone 6+ and to see how good its camera was,  he came down and took a shot of me in my studio painting.

    I'm working on a small oil that I'll talk about later.  It's one of three small works I'm wanting to have in good shape before tomorrow -- when I'm having a painting date with a friend.  My friend is Deb Watson,  a wonderful artist and teacher. Check out her webpage to see her work, and get great watercolor painting tips, and lessons.  

     We have known each other for years, but we hadn't talked in a while.  She is a real go-getter, and her career reflects that.  I reconnected with her a couple of weeks ago, after my opening because I wanted to she how she was doing and get inspired by her energy and enthusiasm.  As usual, talking painting with her was a blast, and reenergized me.  She too seemed to have a good time.

    While she does oils, she's primarily a master watercolorist -- my original love in painting. She has done some work in oils, but not as much as I, so we'd thought it would be fun to set up a regular painting time where we could do our own work, and benefit from the enthusiasm and skills of the other.

     Last week was our first meeting.  We met in her studio, and talked a lot about stuff she is thinking about, then I sat down and did some sketches for a couple of little paintings.  Although I didn't get any farther that day, it inspired me to work on stuff this week, and I've almost completed the two works I started, and today began a third one.  Although I'd been painting abstracts recently, Deb's work has inspired me to return to my original love, realism, this week.   I think we're going to play with oils, but maybe she'll need to work on her watercolor stuff.  Either way, I am really looking forward to painting with another artist, I always find it increases my motivation and creativity.

    The picture you can see me working on is a little oil of a wonderful farmhouse B&B we stayed in with my sister and brother in law (Elaine and Larry) in August.  It's called the Arvgarden B&B in Wellsboro, PA.  We loved it, and loved using it as our base of operations so we could explore Pennsylvania's version of the Grand Canyon.  I'll put it up later today and make it available on my Paintworks website for auction and sale -- and later in the week I'll do the same with the two other small works I've been working on.  Look for them.


October 7, 2014

Breaking Patterns by Making Art

        This weekend was the opening of my art show, New Works Big and Small by Tracy Feldman.  I was there for my opening and also for Lancaster's Art Walk.  There were lots of people at the opening and OK traffic during the Art Walk event.  I sold some small pieces, and had a good time, and got a lot of positive feedback. The show stays up all month, but I didn't sell any of my big pieces over the weekend.

The Topology of History, 32.5 x  26", Oil on Canvas
by Tracy Feldman (& Myra Hichcock)
    In the past that typically has led to an emotional letdown that undercut my willingness to do any art for at least a month -- not a very good pattern for a working artist.  So, when a friend (Harriet) came to the show, and we talked about the Reclaimed Series,  I got an inspiration of a way to short circuit that pattern.

     My Reclaimed Series are abstracts that I make on top of earlier realistic works I know I'll never sell.  By using tape and paint, I both preserve part of the earlier work and create a new abstract at the same time.  I really like doing this, and I realized that by doing a painting like this for my friend, Harriet, I'd give myself the opportunity to solve two problems at once.  The two problems were getting me back into creating art more quickly after finishing a show and using a family painting Harriet had given me and asked me to paint over.

Harriet & Sister
   The original picture is shown to the right.  Harriet brought it to me when she and her husband were in the process of downsizing.  The picture is of Harriet and her sister, and was done by an aunt, Myra Hichcock, who was a painter.  The aunt never had completed the work, and so Harriet kept it in her attic instead of displaying it.  That was about 60 years ago.  Because she knew I was an artist, she brought and told me to paint over it: a better solution that throwing it out.   It was a neat solution for her, but for me it posed a dilemma.   Even though the painting had gotten dull and dirty while sitting in the attic, I loved it, so the thought of totally destroying it rankled.  So I thanked her and put it in my garage -- hoping that as I passed it each day on the way into our house,  an appropriate use would occur to me.   And, as I talked to Harriet Sunday, I realized that taking this piece and turning it into one of my reclaimed pieces would do just that.

   The piece above, The Topology of History, is the result.  Like with my other reclaimed pieces, I used tape to preserve some of the image.  However, there were two important differences in the way I handled this new work.  I didn't just want to use random tape patterns, so I went on line and looked up patterns made in point set topology -- Harriet's husband George's area of mathematical study -- so I figured the piece would appeal to both of them for different reasons.  The second difference between this and the earlier reclaimed pieces is that when I took off the tape, the faces and dresses of the girls stood out too much.  Thus, I glazed over all the previously taped areas with a golden ochre.  I like the result, and hope you do too because the ochre gives it a unity, but glazing it allows Harriet and her sister to be seen peeping out of the painting.

    There was a hiccup on the way to making the piece, however.  Last night, I realized I wanted to do the painting today, but I first needed to clean the piece so the tape and the paint would stick.  I didn't know how to do that, so I asked myself before I went to sleep what might work.  As often is the case, I had an ah-ha thought when I awoke this morning.  I had heard someone talk on a home improvement show about how shaving cream is a great, gentle way to clean things that are oily/greasy (as oil paintings are by nature).  So I got some of my husband's shaving cream and spread it all over the painting.  When I was done, the work looked wonderful, and I worried that Harriet might regret not saving the original, so I brought it to her and asked if she wanted to keep it. She confirmed that she still didn't want to retain it as it was.  So that is why I got the opportunity to make what I feel is a very interesting piece.  I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

     Since I'm intending to give this  piece to Harriet, I won't be selling it unless she decides that she doesn't want it.  If it does become available for that reason, you will be able to that it is available on my website.